The holiday season is a busy one for just about every industry. Retail, healthcare, financial and creative roles are at an all time high as consumers bustle through digital and physical purchasing. Meanwhile, workers are just as interested in hustling, taking on additional, temporary work for extra income. In 2015, the US retail industry alone made 738,800 hires. With an increase in digital purchasing, transportation and warehouse employment in 2015 increased by 200,500 between November and December.
The Challenge with Contingent
Hiring more contingent workers to cover the temporary rise in production and traffic comes with challenge. This is especially true during the holiday season. For one, most of the newly hired contingent employees are temporary, which means they might only be grasping the processes and culture just in time for their contract to end. Meanwhile, tenured staff and management is balancing business with showing these workers the ropes.
Whether you believe you have contingent workforce management down pat or not doesn’t change how important it is to keep striving for the best. This is a reflection on your brand for clients/customers and employees of the present and future. The employees might be contingent, but your reputation is anything but seasonal or temporary. Luckily, the answer to managing a motivated and satisfied contingent workforce is one word: appreciation. Of course, showing appreciation isn’t simple, but it is possible.
We can’t give you an entire management plan in one article, but here are a couple quick tips to consider:
Never Overlook Onboarding and Training
Contracted, freelanced, part-time… whatever the classification, your new hire needs an introduction to your organization, including the mission and values. These details are critical to providing inspiration to every employee and can up the motivation when shifts get a little overwhelming.
Be Clear with Contract Parameters
How any new partnership begins is telling in how the rest of the relationship will go. Employment depends on the give and take of both the employee and employer, so being clear on what the agreement entails is crucial. No professional wants to be surprised with misaligned expectations. This is especially true in the case of a temp-to-hire position where specific performance is expected within a determined timeframe. However, it’s just as important that the temporary contracted employees can know when to expect their scheduling to end.
Communicate Policies and Time Off
Do not fall under the impression that your contingent worker is willing to fill every shift or work every holiday. Even those hired for seasonal openings will want and should have opportunities for time off. Try to delegate those shifts in a way that leaves everyone feeling like their needs are met, even if it isn’t a first choice. Sometimes it means you will need to work a little longer on the schedule and have a few conversations with employees about finding compromise in staffing availability. Also open the door to employees switching shifts (within reason).
Explain the Contract with Tenured Staff
While most of the contract is legalese and unnecessary for communicating with most employees, it is important management staff is in tune with the details. This will protect both your organization and the contingent worker. Don’t forget to share the basic overview with the contingent workers’ new colleagues. The more communication you provide to your current staff, the more they will understand changes to their routine.
Actually SAY “Thank You!”
Who knew employee appreciation could be as simple as noticing and mentioning a job well done. While this should be a universal tool used by any and every leadership team, it is especially true in the case of a contingent worker who is just getting to know their coworkers and management in the midst of some of the busiest times.
Learn the Worker’s Name
Take the time to know the people supporting your business, no matter how long their contract or how many hours they’re scheduled to work. Employees want to feel connected to their leadership and 54% of employees who feel like they can approach their managers with any question are highly engaged. While you might not have the opportunity to learn a lot, you can definitely nail their first name, which is a small, but impactful detail that will make further communication easier.
An increase in employment doesn’t mean motivation is at an all time high, even for the newly hired contingent worker. As workload expands, it’s important to maintain a level of productivity that means more personnel equals greater output. If something isn’t aligned in your contingent management plan, however, there’s a great deal at risk. Above all, remember to show appreciation for your contingent workers.
Navigating the management of a contingent workforce is challenging enough. Don’t let confusion around compensation keep you from hiring a team you can depend on. Develop a competitive compensation plan with this downloadable 5-step guide.